CFP: [General] States of Crisis - Graduate Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Daniel V. Donatacci
contact email: 

Friday, 9 October 2009
Brandeis University
Department of English and American Literature
Seventh Annual Graduate Conference

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush
stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware
of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.” -- John F. Kennedy

Since its origin in the ancient Greek krisis, the turning point in a
disease, the term crisis has referred to both danger and opportunity, and
is related to ideas of discernment, evaluation, and sifting of evidence.
In literary studies, for example, one can see moments of crisis in shifting
aesthetics and changing genres as well as in literary tradition(s),
character representation, and ideas of narrative. Drawing on
interdisciplinary approaches and scholarship, this conference will explore
different responses to the idea of crisis in the humanities and social

Ultimately, this conference seeks to more clearly define the term “crisis”
and work through some of the ramifications of its application. What do we
mean when we label something a crisis? What types of solution to a
problem does this labeling invite or preclude? What kinds of issues are
able to fall into the category of crisis and which are excluded? How are
crises viewed differently within different disciplines, and how do the
corresponding suggestions for solutions compare? We are also interested in
identifying possibilities relating to particular historical or contemporary

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

The humanities crisis
Crisis in the academy
Historical crises
Crisis and the history of ideas
Modernism and the Industrial Revolution
Apocalypse and Eschatology
Crisis in literature
Crisis in shifting media
Crisis in representation
Relations between risk and reward in artistic and financial endeavors
Science fiction
Utopian and dystopian visions
Identity crises
The concept of a “turning point”
Paradigmatic crises
Desirability vs. avoidance of crisis
Responses to and resolutions of crisis
The environmental crisis
The financial crisis
The housing crisis
The digital crisis

Please send a 300 word abstract and a very brief curriculum vitae (no more
than 75 words) for your 15 minute presentation to by midnight EST Monday 1 June 2009. Proposals
must also include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional
affiliation (including department), email address, mailing address, and
telephone number. Since this is a graduate conference, preference will be
given to graduate students; we do, however, welcome proposals from
graduating undergraduates, independent scholars, and others who do not fit
in these categories.

For more information visit our conference website at Email with
any questions.

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Received on Wed Feb 18 2009 - 13:08:32 EST